Was the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre a Failure of Civil Disobedience?

Was the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre a Failure of Civil Disobedience?

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The 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in China or the June Fourth Incident was one of the most famous student protests in the world’s history. The Massacre took place on June 4th 1989 – the last day of a series of pro-democracy demonstrations around Tiananmen Square beginning from April 14. The Tiananmen protest ended in tragic failure and bloodbath as the Chinese state decided to put down the protest with a martial law. At last, army troops and tanks were sent to take control of the city and were ordered to clear the square by firing at the crowd of protesters. The number of deaths has been a matter of controversy over the world until now, which ranges from several hundreds to thousands. In spite of the massiveness and the great influence of the protest, June Fourth was a great failure of civil disobedience because of its lack of organization and the dominant power of the Chinese dictatorial government.
The root of protest came into existence since the early of 1980s after the death of Mao ZeDong – the first chairman of the Communist party of China – in 1976. Since the communist party came to power, it had conducted many social and economic campaigns that had tremendous influence on the nation. The total domination of the socialist government towards the society caused many mistakes that made China face many disasters, for example, the severe famine caused the death of 30 million people from 1959 to 1961 (Zhao 42), or the Cultural Revolution which annihilated traditional culture and murdered a lot of intellectuals. In 1978, the new leaders decided to reform to rescue the Chinese economy which was on the verge of collapse. They corrected the past mistakes with an open-door policy on all areas from economy to culture, thus loo...


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...down the student demonstrations and somehow killed the revolution spirit of the people, the world will always remember the Tiananmen protest as significant, bravery and dramatic civil disobedience in the pursuit for democracy.


Works Cited
Branigan, Tania. “China lifts ban on Tiananmen sites.” Guardian.co.uk 3 August 2008.
< http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/03/china.humanrights>.

Mackerras, Colin. “June Fourth.” Dictionary of the Politics of the People’s Republic of China. 1st ed. 1998.

Pei, M. From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union. Harvard University Press, 1994.

Zhang, Liang. The Tiananmen papers. Ed. Andrew J. Nathan and Perry Link. 1st ed. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.

Zhao, Dingxin. The power of Tiananmen. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2001.

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